Utilized since the time of the ancient Greeks, moulding is a broad category of millwork that adds non-structural ornamentation and beauty to a room. Originally designed based on the ellipse, parabola or hyperbola, mouldings have evolved into profiles that have become the basis for interior decoration for centuries. To help de-mystify moulding, we’ve put together a primer on common types and their uses.
Astragal: a piece of wood attached to one door in a pair to keep the other from swinging through the opening. Also used on the edge of shelving for decorative purposes.
Back band: a secondary moulding added to the outside edge of casing to add detail or mass to the casing.
Baseboard: moulding applied where the wall meets the floor. Can be used together with base moulding/cap or base shoe.
Base moulding/cap: a decorative moulding applied to the top of a baseboard.
Base shoe: moulding applied where the baseboard meets the floor. This moulding protects the baseboard from damage by cleaning tools and can conceal any uneven lines where the base meets the floor.
Bed moulding: any moulding beneath a projection, such as a cornice, or the lowest of a band of moulding.
Casing: a decorative and functional moulding used to trim around doors and windows.
Chair Rail: wall moulding applied about 32″ above the floor and parallel to the baseboard. Originally, a chair rail was used to prevent chairs from damaging walls.
Cornice: moulding used where walls and ceilings meet.
Cove: a piece of wood with a concave profile that is used at corners, specifically as a ceiling cornice.
Crown moulding: moulding used where walls and ceilings meet. Crown mouldings typically have a scotia detail.
Dentil Moulding: moulding with a carved “tooth” detail. Usually seen in crown mouldings.
Lattice: a thin, flat moulding, rectangular in cross-section, used to build decorative screening or conceal joinery.
Panel moulding: a decorative moulding used to trim out raised panel wall construction. It can also be used alone to create a paneled effect on walls.
Plinth block: a block of wood placed at the bottom of door mouldings to serve as a base and to separate the casing and base mouldings
Rosette: decorative moulding used with casing to eliminate the need for a miter cut.
Wainscot: a lower wall surface, usually extending three to four feet up from the floor, that contrasts with the wall surface above it. Wainscot can be either decorative or protective and comes in many styles from beadboard to picture-frame to raised or recessed panel. Wainscot is typically capped with a chair rail.